Finance Magazine

Frugal Getaway to Cannon Beach

By Kathleen O'Malley @frugalportland

cannon beach

An overnight getaway to the Oregon Coast is always appealing: there is nothing like a winding drive through thick trees and an afternoon or two in fresh ocean air to blow away the rigors of city living. (Okay, so Portland is not that rigorous, but still, visiting the coast is fun!) Unfortunately, lodging and food can tend to be marked up in coastal towns, making the perfect getaway seem unattainable. There are options, however, for enjoying the benefits of a mini-vacation at a popular destination like Cannon Beach without going broke.

Stay Along the Way

One way to cut costs (and enjoy a unique experience!) is to skip the expensive hotels on the coast and stay the night on the way instead. McMenamins Lodge in Forest Grove, which is 35 minutes east of Portland offers rooms (full beds) for $65 a night. The property is designed to put guests in vacation mode immediately: accommodations include a soaking pool, a spa, multiple bars, two restaurants, a movie theater, fire pits and lawn games. Check-in is at 3 pm, and check out is at 11 am, so after unwinding and then getting a good night’s sleep, the coast can be met by morning, only an hour’s drive away.

lazy susan
Brunch on a Budget

There are plenty of places to buy an overpriced breakfast in Cannon Beach, but at Lazy Susan Cafe you can leave completely satisfied with a bill under $15. The atmosphere is casual and friendly, the coffee refills never stop, and the omelets are fantastic.

“I love long walks on the beach.”

haystack rock

Long walks on the beach are, of course, free, and a perfect way to burn off brunch. The stroll to Haystack Rock is particularly lovely, providing a destination to marvel at and sit by for a while, before returning to town to check out the local shops.

Window Shopping or Shopping-Shopping

sesame and lilies

Cannon Beach offers tons of great shopping opportunities. One beloved home goods store is Sesame & Lilies. It is a beautiful place to browse–think Anthropologie meets Pottery Barn–and while the items are a little pricey, they do have a sale room (upstairs!). You can also buy vintage posters for $5 a piece–a great, cheap option for a unique souvenir to bring back from vacation.

Latte & Lookout


Insomnia Coffee, just a block from the beach, makes a wonderful latte. The place is usually buzzing and has plenty of comfortable seating, but the best place to enjoy coffee in Cannon Beach is the lookout point at Ecola State Park, just a ten-minute drive away. The views are stunning, and there are plenty of picnic tables where you can linger and enjoy.

Dinner by the Water


Mo’s Restaurant, a small chain that is famous for selling it’s chowder down the Oregon Coast, is not the most unique place to eat dinner in Cannon Beach, but it is one of the cheapest! For $8 you can order a substantial, steaming bowl of their chowder in a bread bowl; for $10 you can order a large salad with heaping scoops of shrimp on top. If you arrive right before sunset and ask for a table outside, right by the water, your dining experience will feel almost five star: a lovely end to a refreshing and affordable weekend away.

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